Crestview’s Lindsey Motycka and Spencerville’s Katie Merriman chase a loose ball in a game at Spencerville High School Thursday evening. The Lady Knights came away with a 53-39 win. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
BY BRIAN BASSETT
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
CONVOY - It wasn't the prettiest game the Crestview Lady Knight basketball team (15-1, 6-0) has played all season, and an aggressive Spencerville squad (2-13, 1-5) gave Crestview all it could handle, but in the end the Lady Knights eked out a Northwest Conference win at Spencerville High School Thursday evening, 53-39.
"We knew it was going to be a battle," explained Crestview coach Greg Rickard. "I've been worried about this game all week. I knew it was going to be tough."
Spencerville coach Warren Pughsley knew that the Lady Knights would be a tough test coming in as well. "Crestview is really good at taking care of the ball. They really understand their strengths. We couldn't force them into their weaknesses most of the time," he said.
The story of the game turned out to be the 24 points put up by Crestview sophomore forward Lindsey Motycka. Motycka recorded a perfect night, going 10-of-10 from the field, including 2-of-2 from three-point range, and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.
"She hit most of her shots against the zone," said Rickard. "(Lindsey) can hit the three-point shot, but usually its Mac (Mackenzie Riggenbach) or Kennis (Mercer). Lindsey was open and as long as she sets her feet she can knock down shots. That's what she was able to do - get her feet set. It was one of those games where she was lighting it up."
Crestview outshot the Lady Bearcats 54 percent (19-35) to 37 percent (16-43). The Lady Knights grabbed 18 rebounds to Spencerville's 17, but the Lady Bearcats got seven offensive boards to Crestview's three. Both teams committed 17 turnovers.
Rickard wasn't surprised that Spencerville attacked the boards the way it did. "We knew it was going to be a physical game. We had seen them on tape and I was impressed with them. They're aggressive, they've got some size and some shooters. I told the girls you watch them play and you think they have a better record than they do. They've played a good schedule and they've played some good teams really close.
The Lady Knights jumped out to a 16-9 lead to open the game and turned it into a 29-21 halftime lead. Despite being outscored by only a point in the second frame, Pughsley pointed to a stretch right before the half ended.
"At first it was a back-and-forth game. But there was a stretch late in the first half; they got a six-point run to end the half. That seemed to kind of hurt our composure, I think we started to panic."
Crestview outscored Spencerville 15-8 in the third before a Bearcat surge in the fourth.
"In the third quarter we were down 15. Once we started going we were playing well, got the lead to nine with the ball twice and didn't score.
"We forced some things that weren't working. (Crestview) made an adjustment, and our players have to understand adjustments are going to happen," continued Pughsley.
Despite being outsocred 10-9 in the final frame, Crestview held on for the eventual 53-39 win.
Rickard explained that as the Knight winning streak - which is currently at 14 - continues, they are going to see each team's A-game.
"We talked about that (as a team). We said we're not hiding from anybody. We're not going to on anybody. You're going to get everybody's best shot. We've got some tough league games coming up, some tough non-league games coming up. We have to match everybody's intensity every game."
Senior guard Aylssa Mulholland led the Lady Bearcats with 13 point on the evening. Senior center Abby Freewalt added 10 points.
Pughsley was pleased with his team despite the loss. "I told our girls that this is the best game we've played, because this is the best team we've played. You look at the score and it looks like some of the scores we've had. Almost everybody who is on our schedule, we would have been really tight with or we would have beaten them if we played the way we played tonight."
Motycka was the only Crestview player in double figures. Sophomore forward Terra Crowle, freshman center Emily Bauer and sophomore point guard Mackenzie Riggenbach each added eight.
"We're pretty balanced, so we've got a lot of people who can score. When someone is off, usually someone picks them up," said Rickard.
CRESTVIEW (FG 3pt. FT Pts.)
Motycka 10-1- 2-2 2-2 24, Crowle 3-7 2-3 0-0 8, Bauer 4-8 0-0 0-0 8, Riggenbach 1-6 1-1 5-5 8, Mercer 1-2 1-1 0-0 3, Henry 0-2 0-0 2-2 2.